We received a big, beautiful red kuri squash in our CSA share last week. Kuris have sweet meat and a mild, slightly nutty flavor. You might know them by one of their other names like orange hokkaido, baby red hubbard or Japanese squash.
I decided to take this one in an Indian direction, pairing its sweet, mellow flavor with a little heat and lots of exotic spices - jalapeno, ginger, garlic, cumin, onions and good old garam masala.
I began by cutting it open. Actually, my husband offered to cut it open for me which was nice since it allowed me to take a photo. It turned out not to be super hard, unlike some kabocha squashes which practically require a hacksaw.
Then I cleaned both halves, scooping out the goopy innards and seeds and putting them in the compost. I had second thoughts about wasting the seeds so I actually dug them out of the compost and cleaned them and roasted them but, sadly, they were not very good - the husks were just too tough for enjoyable eating so I would not recommend going to the trouble with this variety of squash. Delicata, acorn and pumpkin, on the other hand are well worth the extra effort as those seeds make a delicious and very nutritious snack.
Then I placed them cut-side down in an inch or two of water and baked them until the skin got all wrinkled and was soft to the touch. I let them cool down then scooped out the flesh and set it aside.
Meanwhile, I toasted some cumin seeds and then sauteed the onions, garlic, jalapeno and other spices.
Then I mashed the squash and mixed the onion and spice mixture into it. Topped it with fresh cilantro and served it with a lentil salad and brown rice. It was delicious and tasted even better the next day after the flavors had more time to meld.
* 1 medium to large red kuri squash
* 1 medium onion or 2-3 shallots, peeled and chopped
* 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
* 1/4 chopped fresh cilantro leaves
* 1/4 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped (I am quite wimpy when it comes to spicy food but feel free to use more if you like it hot or leave it out altogether if you're not a fan)
* 1 tsp cumin seeds
* 1 Tbsp garam masala
* 1 Tbsp curry powder
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 2 Tbsps coconut or safflower oil
* 1/4-1/2 cup water
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and strings (I use a grapefruit spoon for this task - the little teeth work great!) then place the squash halves, cut-side down, in a baking dish or on a baking sheet and add the water to the tray - you want it to cover the entire tray up to about 1/4 inch. Bake the squash for 45-60 minutes, until the skin gets wrinkled and the flesh is soft to the touch. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle then flip them over and scoop out the cooked flesh and set it aside.
2. While the squash is baking, heat the oil in a large pan and toast the cumin seeds over high heat for a minute then turn the heat down to medium and add the onions. Saute the onions, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften then add the garlic, jalapeno, garam masala and curry powder and and saute for another 2-3 minutes (keep stirring!)
3. Mash the squash roughly and add it to the pan along with the salt and stir well to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the squash is heated through. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. When you're satisfied with the balance of flavors serve, topped with the chopped cilantro.
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- Farro Salad With Roasted Winter Squash, Spinach & Chèvre
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